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Ocean Jacket (2018)

Nelusetta ayraudi

  • Amy Smoothey (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Bradley Moore (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Corey Green (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Anthony Fowler (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Fay Helidoniotis (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

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Summary

Ocean Jackets are found along the southern half of Australia, with sustainable stocks in NSW, SA and Commonwealth waters. Stocks in VIC are undefined, with limited information available. Stocks are negligible in TAS.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
New South Wales New South Wales OTF, OTLF Sustainable Catch, effort, CPUE
OTF
Ocean Trawl Fishery (NSW)
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
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Stock Structure

Ocean Jackets are distributed along the southern half of Australia from Cape Moreton in Queensland around to North West Cape in Western Australia, including northern Tasmania [Kailola et al 1993]. Throughout their distribution, Ocean Jackets are found in many habitats. As juveniles they are found in estuaries and sheltered bays amongst seagrass beds of Zostera sp. and Posidonia sp. [Grove-Jones and Burnell 1991, Jones and West 2005]. Sub-adults and adults have been observed to move into different environments such as rocky reefs, sandy–mud benthos, or onto sponge–coralline algae gardens and can be found in waters from 2–250 m [Grove-Jones and Burnell 1991, Hutchins 1999], where they are known to aggregate seasonally in large schools.

The Ocean Jacket stock comprises Ocean Jackets (Nelusetta ayraudi), which makes up most of the catch, and unspecified Leatherjackets. Little is known about the biological structure of this multispecies stock. Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Southeast Scalefish and Shark Fishery, Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector (Commonwealth); and at the jurisdictional level—New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status

New South Wales

In New South Wales, Ocean Jackets have a long history of commercial exploitation using oceanic demersal fish traps and demersal otter trawl. Records of reported landings indicate that substantial peaks of between 600 and 900 t per annum occurred during the 1920s and again during the 1950s. These peaks were followed by large declines, which suggest that this species is vulnerable to over-exploitation. Between 2000–01 to 2006–07, annual commercial landings using oceanic demersal fish traps and demersal otter trawl increased from 134 to 430 t. Since then, catch has been relatively stable, peaking in 2012 at 420 t and currently down to 211 t in 2017. Since 2009–10 there has been no trend in median trap CPUE, though it peaked in 2013–14 and has slightly declined in the last two years, but to similar levels experienced a decade ago. Ocean Jackets are important to New South Wales recreational and charter boat fishers. The most recent estimate of the recreational harvest of Leather Jackets (all species combined) in New South Wales, by residents of New South Wales, was approximately 71 000 fish during 2013–14, a substantial decrease from 246 212 fish in 2000–01 [West et al. 2015]. The decrease in commercial and recreational catches, coupled with the boom-bust history of the fishery, may indicate that the biomass is declining. However, the above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

Miller and Stewart [2009] reported that between 2003 and 2005, Ocean Jacket in New South Wales landings ranged between 220 and 650 mm TL  and were fully recruited to the fishery at two years of age, with most of the catch (83 per cent) aged either two or three years. The instantaneous total mortality rate was estimated from an age-based catch curve as 1.1. Natural mortality was estimated at approximately 0.5, based on a maximum age of six years. Since then, there have been declines in commercial effort, from 6 000–7 000 days fished down to 2 000–3 000 days fished. Further, recreational fishing effort has declined by 37 per cent in ocean waters [inshore and offshore; West et al. 2015]. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality in New South Wales is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

Based on the evidence presented above, Ocean Jacket in New South Wales is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Ocean Jacket biology [Kailola et al. 1993, Miller et al. 2010, Miller and Stewart 2012]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Ocean Jacket ≥ 9 years, 790 mm FL New South Wales 6 years, 656 mm TL New South Wales 2.5 years
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Ocean Jacket
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Tables

Fishing methods
New South Wales
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Unspecified
Fish Trap
Indigenous
Spearfishing
Hook and Line
Recreational
Spearfishing
Hook and Line
Management methods
Method New South Wales
Commercial
Fishing gear and method restrictions
Limited entry
Indigenous
Bag limits
Native Title
Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Spatial zoning
Active vessels
New South Wales
7 in EGF, 48 in OTF, 60 in OTLF
EGF
Estuary General Fishery (NSW)
OTF
Ocean Trawl Fishery (NSW)
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
Catch
New South Wales
Commercial 20.13t in OTF, 197.85t in OTLF
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 71 000 fish during 2013–14
OTF
Ocean Trawl Fishery (NSW)
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)

Commonwealth – Recreational - The Commonwealth does not manage recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under its management regulations.

Commonwealth – Indigenous - The Australian government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters, with the exception of Torres Strait. In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters.

New South Wales – (Management Methods) The Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangement allows an Indigenous fisher in New South Wales to take in excess of a recreational bag limit in certain circumstances—for example, if they are doing so to provide fish to other community members who cannot harvest themselves. Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority - The Aboriginal cultural fishing authority is the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority. In cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.

Victoria – Indigenous

In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Ocean Jacket - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. ABARES 2018. Fishery Status Reports 2018, Canberra.
  2. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, 31 July 2017, Prepared for the SESSFRAG Data Meeting, 7–8 August 2017, Hobart, for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.
  3. Grove-Jones RP, Burnell AF 1991, Fisheries biology of the Ocean Jacket (Monacanthidae: Nelusetta ayraudi) in the eastern waters of the Great Australian Bight. South Australian Department of Fisheries. FIRDC Project DFS01Z, Final report 107 pp.
  4. Haddon, M and Sporcic, M, 2017, Statistical CPUE Standardizations for selected SESSF species (data to 2016)
  5. Hutchins, BJ 1999. Leatherjackets. In Andrew, NL Under southern Seas. The ecology of Australia’s rocky reefs. University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney. pp 195–202.
  6. Kailola PJ, Williams MJ, Stewart PC, Reichelt RE, McNee A and Grieve C, 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources. Australian Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Canberra.
  7. Knuckey IA and Brown LP 2002. Assessment of bycatch in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery, final report to FRDC, report 2000/169, FRDC, Canberra.
  8. Miller, ME and Stewart, J 2009, The commercial fishery for ocean leatherjackets (Nelusetta ayraudi, Monacanthidae) in New South Wales, Australia, Asian Fisheries Science, 22: 257–264.
  9. Miller, ME and Stewart, J 2012, Reproductive characteristics of the ocean leatherjacket, Nelusetta ayraudi. Reviews of Fish Biology and Fisheries.
  10. Miller, ME, Stewart, J and West, RJ 2010. Using otoliths to estimate age and growth of a large Australian endemic monocanthid, Nelusetta ayraudi (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824). Environmental Bioliology of Fishes, 88: 263–271
  11. Moore B, Lyle J and Hartmann K 2018, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2016/17. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.
  12. Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ, McGarvey, R, Feenstra, J, Westlake, EL, Matthews, D, Drew, M, Rogers, PJ and Earl, J 2018, Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2016. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture (PDF 7.9 MB). South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2017/000427-1. SARDI Research Report Series No. 974. 250 pp.
  13. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of Recreational Fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14. NSW DPI – Fisheries Final Report Series No. 149.